Video: Motley Fool Says EVs Will “See Sunny Days in 2014”


In this latest Motley Fool video, the topic up for discussion is solar.

Sunny Days For EVs in 2014

Sunny Days For EVs in 2014

As the analyst says, solar electric vehicles will really start to take off in 2014, hence the titled of “Electric Vehicles Will See Sunny Days in 2014.”

By this, the analysts means that solar-charged electric vehicles will become increasingly common and that more plug-ins will begin to feature photovoltaic cells on their exteriors.

We’ve seen proof of this now from VIA Motors, the automaker who recently showed off its solar tonneau cover, and even more recently with Ford on the C-Max Energi solar concept, so perhaps Motley Fool is on to something here.

It’s our belief that as the price of photovoltaics drop, solar will rapidly become the method of choice for charging EVs.  Perhaps that won’t happen as early as 2014, but the EV future will “see sunny days” soon.

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21 Comments on "Video: Motley Fool Says EVs Will “See Sunny Days in 2014”"

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Another overlooked simple cheap option is to pay the extra buck or two a month and opt for 100% renewable power through your utility….


Yeah, and I heard solar will reach grid parity this year so maybe it wont cost much extra before too long.

Depends on where you are before you reach grid parity. However, the prices keep coming down, and like a lot of electronics, there is no real floor for the prices. They do, after all, make the things out of rocks (silicon), the 3rd most abundant element on the planet. One issue is that source prices for the grid are getting cheaper, with the natural gas glut instead of going higher as everyone predicted.

You can also halve or quarter your costs by avoiding a ripoff installer or worse, leaser, and simply do it yourself. I can’t go to home depot anymore, or even sit in my house in peace, without being hassled by a solar scam artist now.

Another thing that depends on location is if it makes sense to do a self install. Where I am at, there are some pretty hefty solar credits from Energy Trust, which is a non profit funded by utility rate payers. You can’t get their incentives w/out going through a qualifying contractor. It is funny you criticize leases, yet you recognize that the prices are coming down and there is no real floor for the prices. Corporations have advantages when it comes to depreciating assets that individual people do not.

The installation costs for a 4kW DC systems is about $2K Why would that be considered a rip off? I know your time is “free”, but I guarantee that my install team will install it faster and with a greater likelihood of passing the inspection than any non-tradesman can do.

He may not realize it, but his time is not free. Your services are not a rip-off.

My prediction is that solar panels will never be viable as a money-saving option. (You’ll never recoup the extra cost of the panels compared to the electricity saved) but I do believe they will still sell because people will think it is cool.

In Italy you currently repay them in less than 8 years, without subsidies.

Which means, if you finance them in, say, 10 years, you don’t pay a dime more in the first ten years, then you save some 1,000 Euros a year, till they last (more than 20 years in total)

I’m talking about for cars, not for homes. There is a big difference because the surface area of the car is small, so the power generated is small, yet it is more costly to build the panels into a car and make them look nice and be robust, etc.

“never” is a strong term. Have you seen those solar price trends?

Give it a decade, and an automaker who does *not* solarize the car’s roof somehow, will be considered an outdated fool.

Although, in terms of ability to fully charge an EV…. an ordinary car’s “solarizable” surfaces cannot total more than 3-4 m^2. Even in the sunniest regions in midday, this translates to <3kW raw radiation. But the efficiencies are <20%… translating into a real life 0.5kW or less charge rate, even when most of the car's surfaces are solarized.

Meaning that even a fully solarized car sitting in full near-zenith sun all day cannot expect to get more than ~5kWh per day, unless solar-cell efficiencies drastically improve. And putting your car in the sun all day in a very sunny region is not recommended for the car's sake. Under ordinary driving and opportunistic daytime-parking scenarios, a typical charge contribution in today's efficiencies would be up to 1-2 kWh/day. Nice in an off-griddy sort of way, but not substantial.

Let’s look at your numbers. So, in your real-world case you are saying 2kWh/day is possible. Now, take an efficient car like the Honda Fit EV, which gets about 3.5miles/kwh. So that is 3.5*2kwh*365= 2,500 miles/year. For someone who only drives about 8,000 miles a year that is over 30% of my miles from the sun.

Now, when you also consider that solar efficiency is steadily climbing (look where it was 10 years ago), I think 40% efficiency will be possible for non-concentrating solar (three-junction non-concentrator is already at 39% in the lab). At that efficiency level you really are making a huge impact.

There is a solar panel they are planning on selling in Hawaii that is at 42 efficiently that they are planning on using in small spaces on roof tops. But I think you would need some super thin film solar panel to make it worth while not the big bulky ones.

Good answer from the communist. Solarizing the top of the car is a very low return on the investment, everthing from making solar panels fit the curve of the car (there are flex cells that can do it now but are less efficient), to making them durable enough to be a surface on a car. Solar panels fixed on the ground/roof are far more cost effective, even if they need batteries to store the power and transfer to a car at night.

The battery in the EV is hugely valuable. Having a few solar panels on the roof to help trickle charge and condition the battery while it is not plugged in can be a GREAT return on investment.

Solar has made great gains over the last few decades, and achieved parity with other grid power sources, more info at

But the time for solar cells on cars has not yet arrived. Current technology is great for people who feel that L1 charging is too fast, who want something that runs at a slower pace!

The real benefit of solar energy for vehicles is not as much with panels on the car, but with solar infrastructure.

Using the Ford/SunPower solar concentrator with 9 solar panels(3 times what’s on the C-MAX Solar Energi) and a storage battery, there would be 24 kWh(8kWh x 3) of power generated daily, or enough to fully charge a 75-100 mile EV daily via plug.

Boy, they are not kidding about being “fools”. The top of the car is part of the charging solution, the car is powered by coal. I’ll bet most of the readers here could come up with better information than this moron.

MF has been pumping Tesla and Solar City non stop lately. Almost sounds like they are paid by someone to do so.

Ok. I had to stop before the punch line. I can’t stand people that talk to you with audio gear hanging from their ears. The BT ones are especially heinous.